When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house . . . . Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
(Acts 2:1-4 NRSV)
Imagine you were there, in the city for the Pentecost festival, celebrating and giving thanks for the first fruits of the wheat harvest. Maybe you traveled some distance to attend, as was expected of the devout worshippers of the One God. Others were present as residents of Jerusalem, having made the City of David their home some years prior. Whatever the situation, just 50 days prior you had been present for the Passover festival, and now it was Pentecost.
Your memories from Passover were still fresh. You had been among the pilgrims when the One they called Messiah entered the city. You were aware of his arrest just a few days later. Then you heard he had been crucified – another victim of Rome’s brutal sense of justice.
But the most astonishing reports had circulated in the days that followed, that he was somehow once again alive! These reports even reached your home town miles and days away from Jerusalem. Could it be true? Now, back in the Holy City, reports from the grapevine newsfeed were that his followers had resurfaced, and were preaching and teaching in this risen One’s name.
Coming to Jerusalem for a major festival was always a melting pot experience. People of different lands, languages and ethnicities gathered in the common cause of faith and devotion. Jews and God Fearers alike occupied the city, with some Gentiles around, looking to profit off the business opportunities a crowd brings. And, of course, the ever present Romans, keeping – enforcing – the peace.Continue reading